Royal Princess Inside Passage Alaska: Preparation and Embarkation

Off we go!

This trip was on my bucket list as Alaska was my 50th state. I probably spent more time in the planning than I had with any cruise ever. I wanted everything to work out as well as possible and I didn’t leave anything to chance.

 When you are traveling with an assisted device, no matter what your disability is, it requires additional planning. In my case I have multiple chronic illnesses. I am able to walk some, but definitely not any distance. I am currently using a motorized scooter and have ordered a custom power wheelchair.

The first step in the process is to make sure that the ship you are going on is accessible. I know this seems like a given in the year 2023, but it’s not. There are boats that do not have elevators or have room entrances a wheelchair will not fit in.

Next, you want to make sure you can get around where you are going. It’s alright to find you have to spend time on board and miss one or two excursions, but you don’t want to miss everything.

The Royal Princess met both these needs. They had accessible cabins in various categories. We were able to get one with a balcony, so I could see a lot of things I might not get close to in a scooter.


They also had excursions at every port that were able to accommodate my scooter. There was only one port that required a tender, which is a small boat between the ship that takes you to the port, but even that one looked like it would work out (details about excursions in a later post).


Once these details were taken care of, we received our confirmation and were able to start making plans for the trip. Princess Cruises makes it pretty easy. They have a Medallion App and website where you can book your excursions pre-cruise. This is extremely important when you are trying to get on the wheelchair accessible ones.


You can also use the app to pre-book your spa treatments and dinner reservations. All of this is done with your name linked to any disabilities, special needs, and/or allergies, so they are aware of anything that needs to be done before your arrival in a restaurant or at an activity.

Book Hotels, Car & Van Rentals at Accessible Go

The Cruise Personalizer will allow you to enter most of this information in advance. Then there is a form to fill out for excursions, with the exact size of your scooter or wheelchair and your limitations. If what you planned to bring is too big, or it works better for you to not travel with it to the ship, you can rent a scooter or wheelchair and have it brought directly to and from your cruise.

With the Princess Medallion app, you’ve also uploaded your photo and passport. Some cruises, like ours, go roundtrip from the United States so U.S. citizens can use a birth certificate for the trip. I think it is safer for anytime you go into international waters to have a passport.

The medallion bracelet, which does everything from proving who you are to getting drinks delivered to you (more about that in another post) can be sent to your home before you leave. You can also print out your luggage tags online so all you need to board your cruise with Princess is your bracelet.

Embarkation is done on a rolling basis, whenever is convenient. This was my first cruise with Princess, and I wasn’t completely convinced that this was a smooth a process as it sounded. I decided we’d get on the ship around one o’clock, not too early, and not too late. It was a good choice as there were no lines.

The only problem was that I had decided at the last minute to give the porter one of my carry-ons -- the one with the Medallion bracelets! We had a few extra steps to get onboard, but it was all done fairly quick.

The only other issue with embarkation was a bit of a struggle getting on a large ship with my scooter. The ramps are very steep, however, there were crew members behind me pushing and making sure I made it to the top.

It all turned out much better than any embarkation I’ve had. We were on the Royal Princess about 45 minutes after our shuttle pulled up at Smith Cove Terminal in Seattle, Washington. A few minutes later we were in Alfredo’s Pizzeria, ordering lunch and sipping sparkling wine!


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